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News, Reviews & Features
  • Review: Shaft (2019) is... what the hell did I just watch?

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 9th July 2019

    The danger with judging films based on what you want rather than what you get is you'll forever be on the lookout for things that don't agree with your blinkered view of the world. It's a slippery slope; one minute you'll be tapping furiously into Twitter trying to get Piers Morgan's attention, the next setting up a change.org petition with the vitriolic entitlement of a superhero movie manbaby. That said, they've somehow made a new Shaft film with the exact same comic inclination as an Adam Sandler movie, and while I'm happy the baddest badass motherfucker in town is back, I've never forced myself to sit through something so much in my entire life.

  • Review: Wine Country is a waste of a great ensemble cast

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 17th June 2019

    One thing that fascinates me about film-making is not the how of how movies are made, but the when. We see stars grow in real time these days and very often, once their careers have developed enough, they become producers - meaning the shows and films we watch follow their whims. That explains why we get a glut of movies about having babies, followed by a wave of thirties singleton rom-coms, and these subjects mould the wider zeitgeist. And now we're entering what should be the most interesting phase, where all your favourite stars are burnt out and holding grudges: the mid-life crisis. Fight! Fight! Fight!

  • Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix is an unevolved end to a once super franchise

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 10th June 2019

    So now the X-Men franchise comes to an end. Since that first ensemble movie was released 19 years ago, the property has launched 12 films (13, if you count the still-to-be-unshelved The New Mutants) and has not only become a staple of the superhero genre in the process, but helped set the template for how to do this kind of movie well. And here we have the last instalment; the final chapter that, surely, the entire saga has been working towards for nearly two decades: a fourth-film reboot set in an alternate timeline remaking the same story from the third film of the original movies. It’s the only conclusion we’ve ever really wanted!

  • Review: Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is a dreary mess of titanic proportions

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 29th May 2019

    To all those that said Gareth Edwards' Godzilla was a bore, or that it was slow, or that it took too long to reveal the beast himself, this one's on you, because this new monster mêlée follow-up is a megatomic nuke to the senses. It's a relentless shit-storm of mayhem and bullshit that attempts spectacle but delivers shaky-cam confusion and exhausted clichés for optimum headaches and head-shakes. It's a slog, an onslaught of expensive oblivion and a brain-fouling juggernaut of chaos. Although, I realise some of you may actively want all of this from your giant monster stories.

  • Review: Rocketman is a Bo Rhap glow-up... but then again, no

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 22nd May 2019

    Put Bohemian Rhapsody out of your head: this jukebox musical about a flamboyant rock singer directed by Dexter Fletcher is nothing like that jukebox musical about a flamboyant rock singer directed by Dexter Fletcher. In principle at least, Bo Rhap made sense as a tribute to the mercurial nature of the Queen frontman, a celebration of his musical genius and his tragic legacy. Rocketman, however, is quite different. For starters, Elton John (Tantrums & Tiaras, Kingsman 2, every other fucking episode of the The Graham Norton Show, apparently) is alive and well and executively producing his own vanity biopic. As a celebration of Elton's music, Rocketman delivers a satisfying and foot-stomping soundtrack of wall-to-wall bangers, but as an exploration of the man himself, it lacks any notable dramatic impetus outside of the generic rise, fall and rise template. It's less a movie, more a West End stage musical in search of a worthy hero.

  • Review: Polar is a blizzard of clichéd tedium

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 24th February 2019

    Working yourself to the bone during the prime of your life so you can live comfortably when you're too old to do anything seems really backwards. I'll happily stitch clothes with my gnarled hands in return for soup until I expire at my sewing table when I'm seventy, just let me have some fun now. What if I don't even make it to old age because of some horrible illness or a nuclear war? All those hours toiling away for nothing. Awful thoughts. Everything is terrible. Although I guess things can't be that bad if the worst thing that happened to me this week was watching Netflix's Polar, in which a hitman retires. Which is why I said all that stuff just now.

  • Review: The Lego Movie 2 plays nicely but has no new surprises

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 10th February 2019

    My nephews were younger when the first Lego Movie came out. I mean, everyone was. But in 2014 they were five years younger; a lifetime when you're under ten. The elder one loved it; the younger probably not quite at the age where he could be relied on to sit through anything for more than ten minutes without chewing his shoes. They'll love this too, because they're still under ten and they're idiots, despite the older one being quite capable of comprehensively schooling me about dinosaurs. Me, I think maybe the magic has faded a bit.

  • Review: Green Book is a road trip that takes Route 1

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 6th February 2019

    If racism can be solved in microcosm, film often likes to suggest, then can't we all just get along? Sure, except for all the massive systemic obstacles to that. The buddy relationship at the heart of Peter Farrelly's Green Book, one in which a white racist comes to accept a black man as a friend, wants us to believe that prejudice can be chipped away at through prolonged exposure to its object; that we only hate what we don't know. There's probably a broad truth in that. And yet social media has introduced everyone to people and cultures they'd otherwise never interact with, and Twitter in particular seems to make people even more determined never to change their mind. So is this any use?

  • Review: Bohemian Rhapsody isn't the real life, it's just fantasy

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 25th October 2018

    Watching Bohemian Rhapsody is a bit like seeing Queen perform with Adam Lambert: yeah, the songs are all good, but at the back of your mind you know you're not getting the real deal. Bryan Singer/Dexter Fletcher's biopic is the sanitised retelling of Queen that leaves out all the good stuff in order to be family friendly. Where are the dwarves with trays of cocaine on their heads? The nights out with Kenny Everett and Princess Di in drag? Naked renditions of We Are The Champions? Can anybody find me something to love?

  • Review: Venom is a toothless throwback to the worst era of superhero movies

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 3rd October 2018

    Let’s get something clear: it’s not grey-faced film snobbery, it’s not misunderstanding why a villainous antihero deserves his own movie, it’s not bad memories of Topher Grace, and it has nothing to do with Lady Gaga fans trying to help A Star Is Born top the box office chart. The reason why critics have felt their shitey sense tingling in advance of Venom’s release is because it has always looked terrible. The trailers showcased a comic-book movie from a bygone decade in which superpowers were fuelled by cheesey dialogue, bad CGI and maddening plot holes. We’ve all been standing downwind of this turd for quite some time, so low expectations are entirely justified. Ok, maybe it’s a little bit because of Topher Grace.